Barbara Orbison is an accomplished German Entrepreneur, co-founding Still Working Music Group which has launched many singers.
She has also produced several anthologies and documentaries. Additionally, she was involved with charitable works for homeless individuals.
She acted as a strong protector of her husband’s musical catalog, filing lawsuits against entities for using his songs or likeness without authorization as well as going after Sony to collect royalties for him.
Early Life and Education
Barbara Anne Orbison was born in 1950 in Bielefeld, Germany and became married to rock and roll icon Roy Orbison in 1968. Since his passing at 52 in 1988, Barbara Anne Orbison has tirelessly preserved and expanded his musical legacy.
She co-produced “Roy Orbison: The Soul of Rock and Roll” box set released in 2008 as well as other record projects. Additionally, she ran Still Working Music music publishing company in Nashville and participated in charitable endeavors including providing shelter to Los Angeles homeless.
She was known for attending Nashville parties and awards shows regularly as well as her striking beauty; her presence could light up a room. Roy Jr and Alex Orbison were her children.
Barbara Orbison played an instrumental role in reinvigorating interest in her husband’s catalog and expanding its reach, through duets with Emmylou Harris and K.D. Lang, appearing as herself in an acclaimed HBO documentary and recruiting him into rock supergroup Traveling Wilburys alongside Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty (which released two platinum albums).
As his widow, Barbara also took control of his musical estate and is an ardent champion of its legacy. A smart businesswoman who oversees his music publishing company and international perfume line. Additionally, Barbara is known as an active philanthropist; unlike Yoko Ono or Priscilla Presley she owns all rights to his songs and recordings.
Achievement and Honors
Barbara Orbison played an essential role in her husband Roy Orbison’s life as his manager from 1973 until his death on December 6, 1988, at age 52. Through this period she helped revive his popularity while also spreading it among new audiences.
the Los Angeles Times noted, she worked tirelessly to maintain and extend Roy Orbison’s musical legacy even after his passing, in part by overseeing his publishing company and creating “Roy Orbison: The Greatest Hits,” as well as producing a concert special which aired on NBC in January 1988.
Barbara Orbison was known for her beauty and sense of style throughout her life. She frequently attended parties and awards shows in Nashville, where she was especially beloved among songwriters.
Barbara Orbison was born January 10, 1950, and died December 6, 2011, 23 years after the death of her husband, George Orbison. She was interred alongside him at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Her son Roy Orbison Jr followed in the footsteps of his late rock icon father by becoming a music producer. He co-founded Roy’s Boys LLC – an imprint that oversees his music and estate – before going on to co-found Still Working Music Group (SWMG) which launched singers such as Luke Bryan, One Direction, Gwen Stefani and Miranda Lambert.
He has written two books, The Mystery Girl and Mysterious Day, that he sells through book sales or music royalty income streams; other earnings sources for him include book sales or music royalties. Furthermore, he has appeared in multiple reality television programs.
Once Orbison died in 1988, Barbara received his estate and wealth as her inheritance. Since then she has worked tirelessly to secure his legacy while growing his estate further.
Orbison credits much of his success to his relationships with fellow musicians. He was part of the Traveling Wilburys supergroup featuring Tom Petty and Bob Dylan as members, while also working alongside artists such as Jeff Lynne.
Orbison earned considerable wealth through music royalties and publishing deals, having 22 singles that topped 40 on Billboard charts, writing the Official Roy Orbison Story book, co-founding Still Working Music Group with Barbara Orbison in 1990, which launched Luke Bryan, Gwen Stefani, and Miranda Lambert’s careers among others.